UNHCR preparing to return second group of Sierra Leone refugees from Liberia

UNHCR preparing to return second group of Sierra Leone refugees from Liberia

Sierra Leone refugees at Sinje Camp in Liberia
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today said it was preparing to move a second group of Sierra Leonean refugees out of Liberia after the successful return earlier this week of nearly 250 others.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today said it was preparing to move a second group of Sierra Leonean refugees out of Liberia after the successful return earlier this week of nearly 250 others.

Around 430 Sierra Leoneans were expected to join a second convoy, which was to depart either late this afternoon or early tomorrow from a camp in Liberia, the agency said. A first group of refugees repatriated by UNHCR arrived in their homeland Wednesday night after a seven-hour trip from camps near the Liberian capital of Monrovia.

The 243 returnees spent the night in the Sierra Leone border town of Jendema before continuing their journey to the Blama Way station near Kenema in the central part of the country, where they will receive a two-month supply of food, kitchen sets, blankets and other materials.

From Kenema the former refugees will either make their own way home or be provided with transportation by aid agencies.

The 11-truck convoy marked the first time that UNHCR had transported any of the more than 30,000 Sierra Leoneans in Liberia back to their country, which officially ended a vicious seven-year civil war only last month following the disarmament of combatants by a UN peacekeeping force.